We got our tickets about a month ago (the tickets were free, but the library distributed them as a method of crowd control so they'd know how many people to expect, unlike last year when he was here). And we got there plenty early so we could get parking and a decent seat before the rest of our 1900-plus close friends showed up. (Update: the library web site now says they counted over 2,000 people attending.)
Believe me, the place filled right up.
And, after an introduction by the head of library, during which we learned that he is unable to correctly pronounce "Riordan" (okay, I gotta tell you --Ridley Pearson also got up and had a charming introduction, during which he correctly pronounced "Riordan" several times, then Mr. Numb-to-the-World Library Director got up again and STILL consistently said it wrong), the MAIN EVENT:
Rather than have a typical question and answer session after his talk, they had everyone write their questions down, then selected some representative ones. Ridley Pearson sat down with him to ask him the questions. I thought this worked really well, by the way, and the questions they selected were indeed interesting. You can read Rick Riordan's answers to a couple of the questions on his blog.
Next, time to stand in line forever and ever for book signing. This part of the evening had some organizational snags, but we survived those and eventually made our way to the front of the line. Mr. Riordan was gracious and charming to however many hundreds of people he greeted. Sheesh, you couldn't pay me enough to sit there and chat with 1900 people while repeatedly signing my name, especially knowing that the next day I'm going to fly to another city and repeat the entire experience. The kids, though, figure that it was easier for him to do the signing than, say, teach a bunch of middle schoolers day after day (he was a middle school teacher for 15 years).
When Thalia had her book signed she asked him, seemingly out of the blue, "How old do your kids have to be to date?" She said it really caught him off guard. Uh, yeah, I can imagine.
Actually, there is a reason for the question. For one thing, it's a continuing topic of conversation in our house, one that 15-year-old Thalia finds interesting. Also, while reading The Lost Hero over the last couple of days, we noted and discussed that the 15-year-olds in the book tended to have boyfriends and girlfriends, leading Thalia to believe Rick Riordan thinks that's okay. But, of course, she gave him absolutely NO CONTEXT for the question.
For the record, his 16 year old son would be allowed to date if he had a girlfriend. Or something like that.
Annabeth told him she was dressed as Drew from the new book which just came out Tuesday, The Lost Hero. Check out the metallic fingerless mitts -- quite the fashion statement, yes?
Rick Riordan: Oh, so you've already read the book?
Annabeth: Yes, I finished it this morning.
Me, later: What, you didn't tell him that your darling mother read all 500-plus pages aloud to you for 2 days straight?!
Because, yes, folks, that's how we've spent the last 2 days -- reading the book aloud. The house looks like a wreck, but at least there were no arguments over who got to read it first.
Lots of fun stuff in the new book, by the way. Star Trek! Star Wars! Irish dance! And more! But you'll have to read it yourself to see what I mean ....
Video clip from the local paper here. If I'd had a chance to ask a question, it would've been: How did he stay so fresh and energetic during a book tour?